Published Jan 13, 2014If ever there was a case for musicians living a life at odds with the music they create, Big Ups is it. These four grads from NYU's Music Technology program got together to make 90s post-hardcore heavily indebted to the Touch and Go and the Dischord Records rosters. Some might call them dilettantes; others will say it's just the band members escaping the dreary life of the tech industry (bassist Carlos Salguero Jr. is reportedly somehow involved with Google Glass).
Regardless, the band's debut is an assured amalgam of that era. Singer Joe Galarraga can rage with the best of them, as he ruminates on modernity, morality and mortality, stacking these eleven jams with as many hooks as howls. Their sound might come across as derivative, but there's no denying that this is an expertly executed sonic stick-up. Savvy listeners won't be able to resist playing spot the influence, but the band work around that game by synthesizing a vast number of sounds onto one record. Post-rock, grunge, hardcore, noise-rock; it's all fair game in the eyes of Big Ups, and this album is all the better for it. (Dead Labour)